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Black Swifts

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  • John Bregar
    I was thrilled to count at least ten black swifts hawking insects above the Cross Mountain Trailhead (Dolores Co.) a couple miles south of Lizard Head Pass in
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 12, 2007
      I was thrilled to count at least ten black swifts hawking insects
      above the Cross Mountain Trailhead (Dolores Co.) a couple miles south
      of Lizard Head Pass in the San Juan Mtns. yesterday, August 11,
      between 5:45 and 6:30 PM. They were still present when I left at
      6:30. It was difficult to get an accurate count, because they were
      swirling about in several different directions, and by the time I
      sorted them out from the few swallows also present, I would lose
      track of which birds I had counted and which I had not. I confirmed
      at least ten swifts present, but I believe there were a dozen or more.

      Viewing was excellent when they sometimes passed low over my head.
      At other times they were quite high or would move off to the east or
      south down the valley for awhile.

      A dozen or so mountain bluebirds were also hawking insects –
      presumably the same insects that the swifts were eating.

      Today, between 3:00 and 3:15 PM, no swifts were present, though a
      light shower had just gone through, so maybe that had knocked the
      insects down, and so maybe the swifts had gone in search of easier
      pickings somewhere else.

      I have never seen so many black swifts together before, nor have I
      ever been able to study them so easily and for so long. I was so
      excited that I wanted to flag cars down on the highway just to be
      able to share the spectacle with somebody! I didn't, of course, but
      I when I finally got a chance to point them out to a few nonbirders,
      they just could not appreciate the experience!

      John Bregar -- Durango
    • Brenda Wright
      Greetings, Three Black Swifts were doing courtship flights near the Nucla sewer ponds last evening. I suspect the swifts are from the San Juans. We have had
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 22, 2010
        Greetings,
        Three Black Swifts were doing courtship flights near the Nucla sewer ponds last evening. I suspect the swifts are from the San Juans. We have had heavy rains in the area and that brings the swifts down to lower elevation. The courtship behavior seems a little late, however.

        I was out there looking for Lesser Nighthawks. I may have seen a single male but the nighthawk was far away and light conditions were not great.

        Good birding,
        Coen
      • Brenda Wright
        Greetings, While working a plot in Tuttle Creek (Canyon), I watched two Black Swifts flying the cliffs. As I watch and thought I was being fooled by light
        Message 3 of 5 , May 20, 2015
          Greetings,
          While working a plot in Tuttle Creek (Canyon), I watched two Black Swifts flying the cliffs. As I watch and thought I was being fooled by light conditions a pair of White-throated Swifts came into view and the white was really obvious. Upon getting more views as the swifts (both species) passed by several more times, the flight pattern and wing motion was studied and was noticeably different.
          The date, 20 May, is a record early date for BLSW but only by one day. I wonder if these swifts are headed on to the northwest or has the Telluride swifts arrived.
          Watching the sky for several more minutes a single male Purple Martin was seen in the same area. Tuttle Creek confluences with the San Miguel River about half way between Naturita and Uravan from the east.
          Over the last couple of days Western Wood-Pewees and Blue Grosbeaks are coming but they sure are slow this spring.
          Good birding,
          Coen
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